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Why Vote for Losers?

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  • Micael Castanheira

Abstract

Voting Theory generally concludes that -in first-past-the-post elections- 1) All voters should go to effective candidates (Duverger's Law); 2) Parties' platform should converge (Median Voter Theorem). Observations, though, suggest that such predictions are not met in practice. We show that divergence and dispersion of votes is a natural election outcome when there is uncertainty and repetition of elections. "Voting for Losers" increases the informational content of elections, and forces main parties to relocate towards extremists. As a result, they maximize their probability of being elected, not by converging to the median but by diverging to a certain extent. Ideological behavior results then from optimizing considerations alone.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 125.

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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:125

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  1. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
  3. Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2003. "Why vote for losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  6. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
  7. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. John E. Roemer, 1997. "Political-economic equilibrium when parties represent constituents: The unidimensional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 479-502.
  9. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
  10. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  11. Abhijit Banerjee & Rohini Somanathan, 2001. "A Simple Model Of Voice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 189-227, February.
  12. Lohmann, Susanne, 2000. " Collective Action Cascades: An Informational Rationale for the Power in Numbers," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 655-84, December.
  13. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Myerson, Roger B., 1999. "Theoretical comparisons of electoral systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 671-697, April.
  15. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Extended Poisson Games and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Discussion Papers 1103, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  17. Roger B. Myerson & Robert J. Weber, 1988. "A Theory of Voting Equilibria," Discussion Papers 782, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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